Tuesday, 18 August 2015

What a great day out!

I've always wanted to visit 'HMS Victory' , having a keen interest in all nautical matters, historic or otherwise, so when called upon for babysitting duties in Surrey it seemed an ideal opportunity to fulfil that desire with a visit to the Historic Naval Dockyard in Portsmouth.

Sadly, the Morgan will not accommodate three adults and two children, so it was the Volvo that whisked us down the A30 to Portsmouth on a lovely sunny morning.
'HMS Warrior'
On the deck of 'Warrior'
The gun deck of 'Warrior'
Arriving promptly at the 10.00 opening time we did not have long to wait before starting our visit with a close look at 'HMS Warrior', which on that particular Saturday was due to host a wedding ceremony on its aft deck. Indeed as we approached the ship some of the participants in that function were pruning and preparing themselves on the quay...not a particularly pretty sight!
'HMS Victory'
From 'HMS Warrior' we moved on to the prime reason for my visit, 'HMS Victory'. It is only when stooping along the decks that you can appreciate fully the cramped conditions that the sailors lived and very often died in.
One of 'Victorys' gun decks.

The spot where Admiral Lord Nelson fell.

The bow of 'Victory' showing one of the massive anchors.
Having read countless Patrick O'Brian novels following the adventures of Jack Aubrey and 'HMS Surprise', plus other historical nautical novels, I was already aware that conditions on board the ships of that period were difficult.

However, it is only when you actually see the conditions in reality and notice also things like the size and weight of the guns that they manhandled into action, the size and thickness of the ropes they hauled and reflected on their living conditions with dodgy food and rats everywhere, that you can get a real sense of the seamens' lives.
The 'Mary Rose'
The 'Mary Rose' was next, Henry V111's flagship, which is housed in highly controlled conditions in a building specially built for the job, where also are housed all the various items and personal effects that were found during the raising of the wreck from the seabed.
'HMS M33'
Newly opened to the public was HMS M33 the Royal Navy's only survivor from the 1915 Gallipoli campaign....a fine sight but entry was controlled and a certain adorable grandson wanted to ascend the Spinnaker Tower, so that was that, up he went with grandad....but not before we went on the included harbour cruise. What great value the whole visit had been....wonderful!
The harbour cruise

The 'Warrior' and the Spinnaker Tower from the Solent.
The Spinnaker Tower
Fortunately there was a lift at the Spinnaker Tower otherwise grandad wouldn't have made it! However, on reaching the top the views were terrific and I was delighted to hear my grandson remark that he didn't find it as exciting as his trip to the top of Blackpool Tower!
From the top of the Spinnaker Tower
Isle of Wight in the distance

The 'pointy bit' at the top of the Spinnaker Tower

What a fantastic trip and one that I would recommend to anyone who is keen on the maritime history of this great country of ours.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Solitary Morgan!

It is not surprising that we British are preoccupied with the weather as you can rarely set off  anywhere with the confidence that it is going to be a beautiful day...all day!

Yesterday was a good example of this feature of life in the UK. The day dawned cloudy and rainy as most days have done this 'summer', a term I use reservedly, and then brightened towards the end of the morning, filling me with hope that we would be able to drive to the Lytham St. Annes Classic Car Show on dry roads, and hopefully enjoy a hint of sunshine.

As our time was limited I didn't arrange to display the Morgan, which would have meant us staying on site until the end of the event at 4pm. So having parked with the  visitors we had a leisurely walk along the main drive to Lytham Hall in whose grounds the event took place.
It was obvious as we approached that the gathering was very well attended by a number of car clubs as well as individual owners.
Just the one!!
Needless to say we were searching for any Morgans and finally spotted the sole representative of the marque, a bright red 1990 Plus 8, 3.9litre.
The owner, a local chap who lives a couple of miles from us, had only recently purchased the car from a lady inWilmslow whose husband had sadly died. He is delighted with the car and odviously looks forward to many years enjoyment with it.
As he moved off to join the parade of sports cars it sounded fabulous and made our 4/4 seem rather tame. I must say that it made me sorely tempted to trade in ours for a Plus 8!!!
 We left some two hours before the end of the show, just as more storm clouds were gathering and spots of rain were beginning to fall. Fortunately, they remained drops during our fast drive home,
with the top down, but we only just made it back to our garages in time, before the heavens opened and the rain sheeted down.
Oh, the glorious English summer!